We’re back at Bristol Old Vic next Tuesday, 13 November, for our first regular meeting following the huge success of our debut Scratch Nights event last month — read on for our Scratch Nights I round-up.

Next week’s meeting sees our return to Southwest Scriptwriters’ birthplace, the Coopers’ Loft, which was our original venue from 1994 to 2001. This trip down memory lane doesn’t entail the old trudge up three flights of stairs and short walk over the roof of the theatre complex, though, as you can now take the newfangled lift from the recently opened lobby to the summit of the iconic Coopers’ Hall on King Street, BS1 4ED. Ask BOV staff if you need directions to the meeting. Everyone attending pays £2.

Tuesday, 13 November at 8pm: Open Workshop

Tonight’s session features a short stage play about two actresses by Matt Sanders plus the first act of Briony Pope’s play, Detached, which she is rewriting in response to feedback from Bristol Old Vic. Briony’s script was one of the top 15 submissions of the 150 BOV received in June’s Open Session and she received a full script report in recognition of this placing.

Tuesday, 11 December at 8pm: Open Workshop

We’re back in Bristol Old Vic’s Rehearsal Room for our final meeting of 2018. Tonight’s workshop features a brief seasonal offering by Stephanie Weston; Letharium, a short screenplay about alcoholism, by Rebecca Inoue; and Taking Sides plus possibly two more 500-word sketches by Brian Weaving.


Open Session shortlist successes

As well as Briony Pope’s Detached listed above, Richard Craven’s The Senseless Counterfeit — featured in our recent workshop meetings — also made the top ten percent of the 150-high pile of scripts submitted for Bristol Old Vic’s Open Session this year. Congratulations to both for placing so highly in the face of stiff competition!

If you’re involved with the group, please let us know about your scriptwriting successes.


Scratch Nights I review by Briony Pope

Scratch Nights I aboard Lightship Theatre (Picture: Scott Wilson)

Southwest Scriptwriters’ launch night of the new Lightship Theatre was a well-attended evening, varied in content and gleaming with talent and energy. The eight scripts were:

  • The Park — short stage play by Brian Weaving
  • Real Fun — stage play by Bruce Fellows
  • Them & Us — stage play by Matt Sanders
  • Dinner Date — radio play by Stephanie Weston
  • Three Four Seven One — short film by Jamie Hughes
  • Sophie Scholl — monologue for stage by Carole Boyer
  • Bus Tour — monologue for stage by Stephanie Weston
  • The Family Trip — short film by Rosalind Beeson

Actors: Victoria Cansfield, Adrian Harris, Scott Mooney and Stephanie Weston

Director: Kyle Pryke

Producer: Scott Wilson

The scripts were handed out at 10am then rehearsed throughout the day. After nine hours’ unrelenting work the performances were inspirational. Kyle’s perception and brilliant ability to interpret other people’s writing, combined with the actors’ versatility, provided us with powerful performances. We’re delighted that Kyle is keen to work with us again.

I hope that the writers will ‘tell the management’ if they have suggestions for the future.

Names from TV and the theatre were in the audience, including the Production Designer of Poldark, Jeff Tessler, and James Peries from Bristol Old Vic; also a former director at the Hippodrome and others.

Thanks so much to the Southwest Scriptwriters members who supported the launch. Thanks too to Tim Williams and the Corcorans who made the Lightship so welcoming. Pre-ordered interval drinks proved a good system.

Scott Mooney and Adrian Harris perform in Scratch Nights I (Picture: Scott Wilson)
Scott Mooney and Adrian Harris perform in Scratch Nights I (Picture: Scott Wilson)

Quotes from emails I’ve received since:

The director:

“It was a wonderful event to be a part of, and to see the work come alive in the space was a real joy. A fantastic launch of a new venue and a brilliant way to show off a new and exciting space.”

Member of the audience:

“Quite an eye-opener about what can be achieved in one day by people who have never met each other before, working on material they’ve never even read before.”

A writer:

“What a fantastic launch of the 55 Lightship into the thespian world! I loved the evening, the venue, the people, the atmosphere and hope to return with some writing whenever you can fit me in… This is a fabulous project. It was such a happy event apart from anything else! The actors did so well… Congratulations to all… including the bar staff.”

An actor:

“Just wanted to say what a great evening it was yesterday. It’s a lovely venue and it was very well-organised. Looking forward to the next one.”

Another actor:

“Thank you for all your hard work to get the inaugural performance at the Lightship Theatre off the ground. I think we can all agree that it was very well received. Hopefully the Cabot Cruising Club are equally pleased and are keen (even keener?) to take all of this forward.”

Three or four Scratch Nights a year will take place on the Lightship, presenting material chosen from Southwest Scriptwriters workshops at the Bristol Old Vic.

“The step from writing alone in your room to then sharing your piece of work with actors, directors and audiences is of huge importance… By simply witnessing your work, [the audience] moves your career forward irrevocably.”

Ursula Sarma, Director of Scriptwriting MA, Bath Spa University

Next Scratch Night on board — Wednesday, 13 March 2019. Look out for the call for material in the next newsletter.

The next event at the Lightship Theatre will be a presentation by Aardman Animations.

Interested in presenting your own theatre or other arts event on board The Lightship?

The Cabot Cruising Club is keen to develop this unique venue, programming plays, comedy nights, film showings, exhibitions, children’s theatre and lots of
other Arts events. Flexible approach to programming — welcoming a wide variety of community and professional material.

Email Briony Pope for more information